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1941 Chronokey Chronomedia index
Numbers after entries link to the list of references.

links and notes
  Cultural highlights | Predictions made this year  
January 1  Dutch government imposes a levy (luisterbijdrage) on owners of radio receivers.  
January 1  FM broadcasting in the 42-50 MHz band becomes legal in the US.  
January 9  CBS gives a demonstration of colour television in the US. > June 1
January  BBC Television's transmitter at Alexandra Palace in north London is modified as part of Operation Domino to 'bend' the German radio direction ('Knickebein') beams for guiding bombers.  
February 1  Glenn Miller's new three-year record contract with RCA Victor is the most lucrative for a performer to date: it guarantees him $750,000 a side. > May 7
•  Agfacolor negative-positive process for colour motion picture film printing introduced in Germany.  
March 1  First US commercial FM radio station (W47NV) starts broadcasting in Nashville, Tennessee.  
March 13  Dutch radio societies are disbanded on orders of the German occupation.  
April 1  BBC begins European Service broadcasts to Switzerland in French, German, Italian and English.  
April 13  Radio station W71NY in New York becomes the first commercial FM broadcaster to sign an advertiser to a contract.  
April  US government’s War Production Board orders a 70 per cent reduction in the use of shellac—mainly imported from India—for non-military purposes, seriously affecting the production of audio discs.  
May 1  Citizen KanePremiere of Citizen Kane in New York. Orson Welles directs his first feature film under his RKO contract after two abortive projects. Later frequently voted the best film ever made, it does not receive an immediate widespread mainstream theatrical release and despite seven Academy Award nominations, it wins nothing. Because the central character is based on press magnate William Randolph Hearst, his newspapers refuse to carry advertising for the film. Many of its visual effects had been used in a John Ford film the previous year. The cinematographer is Gregg Toland, on loan with his crew and customised camera equipment from Goldwyn.  
May 2  BBC begins Overseas Service transmissions in Malay.  
May 3  BBC begins Overseas Service transmissions in Tamil.  
May 7  Glenn Miller Orchestra records Chattanooga Choo Choo (RCA). > 1942
May 10  The Queen's Hall in London, home of the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts, is destroyed by an air raid during a BBC broadcast.  
May 19  BBC begins Overseas Service transmissions in Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese.  
June 1  First scheduled experimental colour television transmissions begin from CBS station WCBW New York, using a 375-line system developed by Dr Peter Goldmark.  
June 1  All Catholic publications are banned in Nazi Germany.  
June 20  Walt Disney’s Fantasia animated feature, with stereophonic music recorded by Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra, goes on general release in the US.  
June 25  Deutsche Zeichenfilm, based in Alexanderplatz, Berlin, is founded by Karl Neumann with encouragement from Nazi propaganda minister Josef Goebbels, to make Disney-style cartoons. The propaganda films are made without dialogue for showing in Nazi-occupied territories. It employs over 100 animators and establishes studios elsewhere, including Prague. The first film is the 17-minute Armer Hansi, made a cost of 2m Reichsmarks but awarded a German culture prize. Production continues until summer 1944. Gerhardt Fieber quotation
June 27  First television advertising rate card issued in US by NBC.  
June  Radio España Independencia begins clandestine operations in opposition to General Franco's fascist régime.  
July 1  Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopts the proposals of the National Television Standards Committee (NTSC) for US monochrome television on 525 lines with a 4:3 aspect ratio and 6MHz channel bandwidth. FCC grants the first commercial television licences to NBC and CBS.  
July 1  Full US commercial television service starts from NBC’s station WNBT, Radio City, New York. later re-named WNBC New York. The first commercial is for Bulova watches ('It's Bulova Watch time') and costs the advertiser $9. Also licensed is CBS's station WCBW, New York.  
July 1  Clandestine radio station De Brandaris goes on air in occupied Netherlands.  
•  First sponsored television programmes are broadcast in US.  
July 19  Churchill V-signV for Victory campaign is inaugurated by Winston Churchill, in office as British prime minister for the past 10 weeks. The BBC first uses the opening bar of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, forming the pattern of the Morse code for the letter V, in its overseas transmissions.  
July 22  Television service in Kiev, Ukraine, closes. < 1939 February 1
July  DuMont camera with viewfinderDu Mont Laboratories introduces the first television camera with an electronic viewfinder. Mounted on the left side the camera body, the viewfinder uses a five-inch cathode ray tube. A Mitchell film camera viewfinder is also provided.  
July  Disney strikers picket cinemaCartoonists at Walt Disney Studios go on strike. 'I am positively convinced,' Walt Disney says in an advertisement in trade paper Variety, 'that Communist agitation, leadership amnd activities have brought about this strike.' Following the strike, the Conference of Studio Unions is formed. A breakaway team of animators form the United Pictures of America (UPA) studio.
Photo: Strikers in cartoon masks picket a cinema
[source: Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research]
> 1945
August  Warner Bros acquires 25 per cent stake in Associated British Picture Corporation (ABPC) for £903,150.  
September 3  First television station outside New York—NBC's KYW TV on channel 3—comes on air in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  
October 1  Decree by General de Gaulle’s French government-in-exile sets up Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française (RTF).  
October 11  BBC begins transmissions in Bengali.  
October 23  Walt Disney's animated feature Dumbo is released in the US.  
October  J Arthur Rank's GCFC acquires Gaumont-British Picture Corporation, of which Rank becomes chairman, replacing Isidore Ostrer. Included in the deal are Gaumont-British's 251 cinemas, the five-stage studios at Shepherds Bush and production company Gainsborough Pictures. > December
November  First recorded relay radio transmission of a session of the Japanese parliament.  
November  In Japan, NHK's experimental television transmissions cease with the outbreak of the war in the Pacific.  
December 9  President Roosevelt’s radio broadcast after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor two days earlier ('an act that will live in infamy') is heard in 62.1m (79 per cent) of American homes.  
December 15  Norman Corwin's production of We Hold These Truths, commissioned by the president and starring Orson Welles, is broadcast simultaneously on all four national US radio networks—CBS, Mutual and NBC's Red and Blue Networks. It reaches an estimated audience of 63m people, the largest ever for a dramatic production of any kind.  
•  Congressional investigation into claims that 'the motion picture and the radio have been extensively used for propaganda purposes designed to influence the public mind in the direction of participation in the European war' is overtaken by US entry into the war.  
December  On the early death of Oscar Deutsch, J Arthur Rank assumes full control of the Odeon cinema chain.  
•  British Film Producers’ Association (BFPA) is founded. Federation of British Filmmakers, 1957
BFPA 1967
•  British wartime propagada film Target for Tonight is voted best documentary of the year in the US by the National Board of Review of Motion Pietures. The voices of RAF personnel are dubbed by American actors and the film is claimed by the New York Times to have been re-edited for Americans release by Alfred Hitchcock. [0074]  
•  Soyuzfilm-Lenfilm studio complex is destroyed by fire during the Leningrad Siege.  
•  Rajnataki (Court Dancer), produced by J B H Wadia and directed by Modhu Bose (1900-1969), is the first Indian film made entirely in English. > 1942
•  J L Baird produces a electro-mechanical [stereoscopic?] colour television system, displaying 600 lines on a screen with a 38-inch diagonal in a 5:4 aspect ratio.  
•  Federal Communications Commission rules that RCA must divest itself of one of its two radio networks. > 1943
•  Wire audio recorders for the US military are produced by Brush Development Company, General Electric Company and Armour Research Foundation.  
•  US patent is granted to Marvin Camras of Armour Research Foundation for a red oxide coating for magnetic recording tape. > 1951
•  RCA introduces the in-car speaker for drive-in cinemas.  
•  Leo RostenAn early sociological study of the cinema industry is published: The Movie Colony, The Movie Makers by Leo Rosten (1908-1997).  
•  Number of cinemas in the UK: 4,415 with 4,216,200 seats. Cinema statistics
•  German electrical company Siemens acquires Deutsche Grammophon record company.  
•  US record sales amount to 127m during the year. > 1946
•  Ondioline, an electronic valve-based keyboard instrument is invented by Frenchman Georges Jenny. A precursor of the synthesiser, it is later used on music soundtracks for such films as Spartacus and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie  
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Page updated 29 January 2010
© David Fisher